Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Have a Latte Hop

See below for the Have a Latte Blog Hop Info!


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"Tip Tuesday!" - Try Before You Buy

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
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There are so many options for us quilters in regards to notions such as rulers, rotary cutters, cutting mats, irons, marking tools, etc. I don't know about you, but I certainly do not have unlimited resources and want to make my quilting purchases worthwhile.

I'm sure many of you can relate to having bought a tool because the advertising/demo made it look so easy and you just knew that it would solve all of your quilting issues. (Ok, I'm exaggerating there, but I think you get the idea.) 

Take the case of a rotary cutter I bought a number of years ago. It was a perfectly good cutter and it really did look like it would reduce strain on my wrist. I read the reviews, which were all glowing and even my friend had one and absolutely loved it. How could I go wrong, right? I bought one and excitedly opened the package as soon as I got home and started to use it.

Well, to make a long story short, I HATED that cutter. I couldn't get it to feel comfortable in my hand and my cutting accuracy suffered. Thinking I was holding it incorrectly, I searched the internet for tips on using the cutter, but to no avail. I was holding it properly, but it just wasn't working for me so I gave up and put that cutter in a drawer, never to be used again. (I did eventually ask my friend if she wanted a "travel" cutter and I gave it to her.)

It was shortly after that experience that I started teaching and I made the decision to address this issue, as I wanted my students to spend their money on classes and fabric instead of tools they wouldn't use. I asked the shops to allow me to "soft sell" by having tools and notions available in the classroom for use and for me to use during my demos. I wanted students to see them in action and try them all. (It was kind of a hard sell to one shop because they didn't want to open the package, but they did it and are very happy they did.)

I also started "collecting" notions for teaching. For my birthday, I asked for various tools and notions. I bought them when they were on sale. I accepted them from friends who had them, but never used them. It didn't take long before I had my "teaching kit" filled with at least four different styles and manufacturers of rotary cutters, ruler and mats. I also have various marking pens, chalks, pins, glue sticks, etc. in that kit and it is with me for every class I teach.  

When I teach or when I'm sewing with a group of people, I allow them and suggest that they try all the different styles and see what works for them. As a matter of fact. I often suggest that my new quilt students don't buy supplies until after the first class so they can "try before they buy." Afterall, I would never suggest that they purchase a sewing machine without researching and trying it, so why would I suggest they buy any notions without trying them. I know for a fact that these trials have saved a number of students money, or at least it saved them from buying tools they don't like. (Of course many of them spent the "saved" money on fabric, but that doesn't count.)

The shops in which I teach are ok with me doing this, as they often benefit from these trials. Although it isn't my main goal when teaching, most of my classes end with students making purchases of tools that they had never tried before. The student is happy, the shop owner is happy, and I'm happy.

So, my advice is -Try before you buy! 

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It's Day 2 of the 
Have a Latte Blog Hop


Here are today's participants
Enjoy!

 April 14

Monday, April 13, 2015

Design Wall Monday and Have a Latte Hop!

Today begins the Have a Latte Hop and here's the full schedule.

I'm way down near the end on April 22nd, so keep coming back to check out all the awesome projects each day. 
This is a really fun collection and while I was waiting for my fabric order to arrive, my mind was swirling with ideas, and not just from the lack of (or too much) caffeine.  :-) 

Enjoy!


April 13

        April 14

          April 15
        
  April 16

  April 17

  April 20


  April 21


  April 22

  April 23


Now for what's on my design wall today...



This is my version of Moroccan Tile by Amy Smart 



I have the rest of the blocks ready to sew and then the fun of laying them out begins. Can you see where I folded each unit to find the center? That makes lining up the units so the two horizontal purple pieces line up accurately on the two sides of the longer vertical strip so much easier. (And that makes me so much happier!) 

My version is going to be a bit different, besides the obvious color changes. I don't think I'm going to border this, and because I'm using 25 Poems from Pebbles strips left over from another project, I have quite a few extra blocks. That means this is either going to be one big quilt or two smaller ones. (Don't you love the way I plan my quilts?) :-) 


The pattern is in Amy Smart's Fabulously Fast Quilts, which just happens to be the door prize I donated to the 2015 Hands2Help Challenge
(I had two copies of the book.) 

I'm also donating a cone of Sew Fine! thread by Superior Threads. It's color number 403 (Putty), which is a great neutral piecing thread. 

That's 3280 yards of thread! 
You can get some serious quilting done with this thread.  



That sure was fun and it's been a joy to read the comments and e-mails from people. It's such a great challenge and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

So, what's on your design wall today?

Check out the eye candy of other quilters today.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tutorial!

I'm excited to announce that I am a guest blogger over at 


today as part of the 


and I've posted a tutorial for my All Boxed In quilt.

All Boxed In Tutorial

All Boxed In Tutorial

All Boxed In Tutorial

Check it out HERE and let me know what you think.  :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tip Tuesday! An Easy Sashing Technique

"Tip Tuesday!" - An Easy Sashing Technique

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
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Sashing with Cornerstones, Turtle Quilt

Avery's Turtle Quilt
(Yep, I just loved this picture and wanted to post it again!)

Although I find that I don't do it often, I like the look of sashing in a quilt. (Quite honestly I didn't realize that I don't do it often, but when I was looking for pictures I didn't find many.)

Adding sashing to a quilt separates the blocks and sort of spotlights them. Once I added the brown and beige frames to the turtle blocks in Avery's quilt above, the blocks were pretty big. I didn't want to sew the blocks side by side because that would be boring, but I also didn't want the overall size of the quilt to be too big. I added a narrow sashing and included brown cornerstones that were made from the same fabric as the first frame around the turtle blocks and I think it worked. (Please ignore the weird looking corners on the quilt picture below. The binding is sewn on by machine and not hand stitched to the back, thus looking like I have odd corners.) 
  
Quilt with Sashing and Cornerstones, Turtle Quilt

In this gorgeous star quilt made by Chris, the sashing and cornerstones are more proportional to the overall quilt size and the cornerstones pull all the scrappy blocks together beautifully. I LOVE this quilt! 

Scrappy Star Quilt, Black and White Quilt, Sashing and Cornerstones

Sashings and cornerstones can be basic (one sashing fabric and one cornerstone fabric) or they can be more complicated and pieced. In the quilt below, the sashing is just a single strip of fabric, but the cornerstones are pieced mini four patch blocks.

Patriotic Quilt, Red, White and Blue Quilt, Sashings and Cornerstones, Pieced Cornerstones, Pineapple Quilt

Here's a close up.

Patriotic Quilt, Red, White and Blue Quilt, Sashings and Cornerstones, Pieced Cornerstones, Pineapple Quilt

When I made this quilt, I made the sashing the only way I knew how. Piece the blocks, sew a sashing strip to the right side of the blocks, and then sew the blocks into rows. Next, sew the horizontal sashing strips to cornerstones and then sew the long strips to the previously sewn rows. It always helps to say a prayer and hold your tongue just the right way so that everything matches up just right!  :-)

Especially early on in my quilting life, that matching up part was tricky and I often wasn't thrilled with the outcome. Perhaps that's why I didn't make too many quilts that required sashing. I think I preferred to make more blocks or add extra borders to make the quilt the desired size. 

Then I went to a guild retreat and everything changed. Karen introduced me to a new way of adding sashings and cornerstones to quilts and I fell in love! (I know that many of you probably already know about this, but it was new to me and I thought it was the next best thing to sliced bread.)

Using this technique, the sashing pieces and cornerstones are sewn to the blocks and then the blocks are sewn together. You no longer have to sew long sashing pieces and hope that they match up. For me, it is much easier and I get better results.

Avery's turtle quilt was sewn that way, as was this quilt.

Scrappy Pineapple Blossom Quilt

And this quilt, with pieced sashing and cornerstones, was much easier for me using the technique.

Sample Quilt, Trellis Sashing

I was explaining the technique to my sister Ann last week and she found the following link that does a great job of demonstrating it. 


The only thing that is not mentioned here is the pressing. I press to the sashing whenever possible, especially if the cornerstones are pieced. Other than that, this is a wonderful tutorial from Val's Quilting Page.

I hope you'll remember this technique the next time you're going to sash your quilt. 

Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Quality Time

I got to spend some quality time with my seam ripper last night.

 Seam Ripping

I had a plan for these 2.5" strips of Poems from Pebbles, but once I got started on it, I didn't like it. 

Friday night, I sewed 26 strips into sets of twos. I put them up on the design wall to be sure that I didn't mess up the sewing order when I decided that I needed to make changes. But, no matter how much I moved them around, it just wasn't working. 

I set them aside thinking that a new day would help; but when I went back to them last night, I still felt the same way. I pulled out my seam ripper and got busy.

I spent some serious, but quality time with the ripper and I'm okay with that. I sure am glad I made the decision to rip early in the construction process!

I hope to get time to work on the new plan later today but I have a few other things on my plate first though. 

I'm excited to say that next Sunday I will be the guest blogger at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I'm super excited about it and hope you all jump over there and take a gander at the tutorial I'm posting that day. 

I'm also one of the sponsors for the 2015 Hands2Help Quilt Challenge and Sarah's post yesterday announces all the wonderful sponsors. I'm thrilled to be a part of the challenge and honored to be a guest blogger and sponsor.

Happy Monday! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Recap

March was National Quilting Month.

What did you do to celebrate?

I was fairly productive during the month, but what I am even more excited about was the fact that I had numerous opportunities to share the joy of quilting with new quilters. (I sometimes feel like a "quilt pusher" who gets a kick out of introducing people to MY drug of choice - QUILTING.)

I've shown various projects throughout the month that I've completed, but here are a few tops that are ready for quilting. The bottom four have the backing and binding ready to go and all that needs done is to get them on the frame. I hope to have the backing and bindings ready for the top three by next week. Most of these are donation quilts or class sample quilts and although there are deadlines, they aren't super soon.


Quilt Tops Ready for Quilting

Here's the Mondo Bag and Strip Quilt that I made using just one Jelly Roll and 2 yards of fabric. That was fun and I'm making another set, only this time I'm using more modern fabrics - Poems from Pebbles. I got my Jelly Roll from M&E Quilt Shoppe and I know they have more, along with Charm Packs and Layer Cakes. (See I AM a quilt pusher!)

Mondo Bag and Jelly Roll Strip Quilt

I was very lucky to spend National Quilting Day (and rest of the weekend with a couple of my favorite people.  :-) 

There was a lot of laughter and even some sewing.


Of course there was also some eating! 
Tony, Claire and Ryan worked hard and made a wonderful dinner Saturday night. There was a lot of team work during the cooking process, but don't let the pictures fool you. There was a lot of laughter coming from the kitchen too!





And even though this isn't what I had intended to make, these blocks (plus three more) got sewn and are ready for sashing. These are a version of a Disappearing Nine Patch.


The original plan was for Ann, Jerry, Connie and I to follow the same Disappearing Nine Patch pattern and see how our fabric choices made the blocks look different. We spent quite a bit of time Friday playing with the block construction and none of us liked what what happening so we decided to work on our own projects. I didn't take much else on which to work, so this is what I did. I don't love it, but that's ok. I'll finish it and move on to my next new and exciting project.

But, none of the quilting projects completed during the month of March compare to what Lynn and Ty completed. 

Peyton Louise is simply adorable and a wonderful blessing to us all! 
I see a future quilter here. :-)


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Snow for Easter?

I made this Easter carrot table runner  and needed to move it from the table last night when Nikki's kids were here because I knew they were going to color. I wasn't sure if the kids had seen the "giant carrot" yet, so I wanted to put it up someplace that was out of the way, but where they could still see it. I thought this was the perfect solution.



Sadie was the first to see it and her expression was like, "What the heck is that giant carrot doing hanging on the wall?" 

Then I lifted up the carrot to show them this.


I wish you could have heard them laugh!

Unfortunately it's not too big of a stretch to think we could have snow on Easter.